Review Blog

Jun 14 2019

Dead at first sight by Peter James

cover image

Roy Grace book 15. Macmillan, 2019. ISBN: 9781509816408.
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Themes: Crime, Fraud, Online romance, Internet. The apparent suicide of Susy Driver, a supposedly happy late middle aged Brighton woman, leads DS Roy Grace into a very murky world. It also adds friction to the already abrasive relationship between Roy and his line manager ACC Cassian Pewe, who would rather have a neat tidy suicide than a murder, which would make his statistics very untidy.
Susy has been using an online dating service, but had warning signs when she was asked for money by her online 'lover'. She began to check, and finds to her surprise, that her man of the moment is Toby Stewart a motivational speaker and Master Chef contestant, who also happens to be gay and happily married. She also discovers his image has been used multiple times. Unfortunately her delving has rather nasty consequences, and not just for her.
Susy isn't the only victim of 'romance fraud'. Others in the UK, Germany and the USA had been scammed, and some sought to get back at the scammers and seek their revenge without the aid of the seemingly powerless police forces.
Roy Grace has few clues, but a couple of chaps of African appearance one of whom wears distinctive bright red shoes seem to be involved. The situation also becomes more curious with the entry of Tooth, a very accomplished assassin. What on Earth can he have to do with all this?
Peter James has used an actual event on which to base his Toby Stewart character. This has in turn put him in contact with the disturbing data surrounding 'romance fraud'. Victims seem to be older well educated men and women who have often been in long term relationships and have looked for companionship and romance online. They often find that they are only too eager to respond with ever increasing amounts of money when requests come through to help out with sick relatives, or provide short term loans in battles with ex partners. Many of the victims are too embarrassed to admit they have given away their life savings to a non existent 'lover'. The agencies in question are often based in Ghana, Nigeria and Eastern Europe where there is little hope of any justice for the victims.
This is the 15th Roy Grace novel, and those who have enjoyed the others will be sure to embrace this new wrestle with these more faceless criminals and those who wish to stop them.
Mark Knight

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